Letters Call for Key Decisions on BDCP

Two United States senators, a member of Congress and two organizations representing the state’s urban communities submitted separate letters this week calling for action on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

The letters, sent as state and federal agencies enter a key decision-making stage for the BDCP, urge leaders to move forward with identifying critical elements of the project and producing environmental documents for public review.

In a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California said the status quo is not acceptable and a new approach for managing water supplies and the Delta ecosystem is needed.

“Conclusion of this process is essential to protect water supply for 25 million Californians, the long-term sustainability of the Delta ecosystem, and the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen,” the senators wrote. “Furthermore, the BDCP is the only comprehensive approach on the table to deal with the crisis. It is too late for faint hearts.”

Noting the challenges involved in finding common ground among all stakeholders, the senators called it imperative to keep move forward. “There are calls to halt the BDCP, but California cannot afford further delays. We urge you to work collaboratively with the BDCP stakeholders to make the necessary decisions about the proposed plan, and promptly distribute this information to the public for review.”

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-38) said there is no argument that water supplies and the health of the largest estuary on the West Coast are at great risk. She called on state and federal leaders to engage all stakeholders in the process.

“The BDCP can only move forward with the collaboration of the leaders and stakeholders,” Napolitano wrote in her letter. “I support finishing the drafting process and producing the environmental documents for public review. In turn, the public can then evaluate how the BDCP plans to achieve the co-equal goals of restoring the critically important Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and water supply reliability for cities, farms and businesses throughout California.’

A third letter from the California Latino Water Coalition and the California State Conference of the NAACP said urban communities have been largely unheard in the BDCP planning process, despite the importance of the effort to their members.

“Simply put, it is the large urban population centers that will suffer the greatest social, economic and environmental harm if an earthquake or other natural disaster disrupts Delta water supplies, and the residents of those communities are more likely to belong to an ethnic minority group than residents in other parts of the state,” their letter said.

“The evidence is clear that until the conveyance improvements and environmental investments proposed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan are put in place, the economic, social and environmental well-being of California’s urban communities is at risk.”

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Senators to Salazar Blank Laird re BDCP 070912.pdf90.2 KB
Rep Napolitano letter on BDCP_FINAL.pdf71.51 KB
NAACP and Latino Water Coaliton on BDCP.pdf218.31 KB